The spell Etherealness reads in part:

You step into the border regions of the Ethereal Plane, in the area where it overlaps with your current plane. [...] You can see and hear the plane you originated from, but everything there looks gray, and you can't see anything more than 60 feet away.

While on the Ethereal Plane, you can only affect and be affected by other creatures on that plane. Creatures that aren't on the Ethereal Plane can't perceive you and can't interact with you, unless a Special ability or magic has given them the ability to do so.

It's not clear to me whether or not Locate Object satisfies the qualifications of the second paragraph.

By extension, it seems like this spell's description includes a little general description about the ethereal plane. This would mean that the second paragraph applies both to the spell Etherealness and to creature abilities like Night Hag's Etherealness.

The confusion for me results from how the Ethereal plane intersects with other planes, suggesting that they are congruent from at least a spacial sense. For example, Blink states:

While on the Ethereal Plane, you can see and hear the plane you originated from, which is cast in Shades of Gray, and you can't see anything more than 60 feet away.

This suggests that distance measurements ignore planar considerations.

Given this, does the spell Locate Object work to detect an object (carried by a creature using the spell or ability above) if that creature and object are located within 1,000 feet but on the ethereal plane?

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    \$\begingroup\$ How is something "within 1000 feet" and on a different plane of existence? In particular I suggest the following Q/A: Can I still command/control concentration spells while in the Border Ethereal? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2019 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also recommend adding the following from the spell's description: "You ignore all objects and effects that aren't on the Ethereal Plane". Also the following question is related: Can you cast a spell on someone in the Ethereal Plane, if you are on the Material Plane and have the True Seeing spell active? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2019 at 23:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Do note the Addendum to my answer in the question you linked. There are a number of effects that are written with the assumption that something can be within X feet and in the ethereal plane at the same time, even though the cross-planar distance metric is never defined. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2019 at 23:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson True, but then it seems we're either left with RAI (Crawford) or allowing those few items to require an entire undefined thing to exist (measured distance across planes), although... we might be lucky that the answer may not matter for this question \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara If your question essentially boils down to defining distance between planes, then AFAIK the information in that linked answer is still accurate, and I doubt you'll get anything new here on that front. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 0:48

2 Answers 2


This question essentially boils down to defining the distance between planes and that matter has been addressed already in this question.

To wit, there is no standard definition of interplanar distance in the game, though certain spells address the matter on a case-by-case basis for their own purposes.

While Locate Object is magical, which would seem to indicate that it satisfies Etherealness' clause stating "unless a Special ability or magic has given them the ability to do so," the fact is that Locate Object does not expressly grant detection across/between planes.

Therefore, because spells only do what they say they do (and nothing more nor less), we have to conclude that Locate Object does not grant its caster the ability to detect across planes.


Locate Object cannot locate objects on another plane

Although you can see into your previous plane, you no longer on that plane. You are not actually within 1000 feet of it.

There is nothing in the rules saying that planes are X feet from each other, that isn't how the concept of planes work. It's like asking how many feet is between 2019 and 2020.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You should support that distance across planes is infinite \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 1:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I really have having to prove negatives. There isn't anything in the rules saying that the material plane is 20ft away from the ethereal plane, because that is nonsense and not what planes mean. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest reading through the answers here, in particular the addenda to Ryan C. Thompson's answer, however, it's certainly not a done-deal or closed sort of question. You could add in the Crawford quote for some RAI evidence if you'd like: "If two people are on different planes of existence, they are infinitely far away from each other. For example, if I'm on the Material Plane and you're on the Ethereal Plane, we're not within 30 feet of each other." \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I am not a fan of using RAI when RAW will suffice, and I don't buy that 2 spells being exceptions sets a precedent. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2019 at 1:19

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